Our Story

Our family of three moved to Pittsburgh in August of 2010, shortly before the opening of the Pittsburgh Public Market.  Rob had been accepted for an internship at the Pittsburgh Zoo and so I assumed responsibility for earning the bulk of our income.  Not surprisingly, the job hunt was grueling and I had little luck securing anything remotely appealing.  I had been reduced to contacting telemarketing agencies and replying to housekeeping and janitorial want ads.  Having a six month-old daughter, I wasn't interested in a 9-5 full-time position.  After nearly four weeks of searching, a Craigslist ad jumped out at me: Olive Oil Sales.  I'd had a pretty good history in sales, and had always enjoyed olive oil.  I shot an e-mail to the poster to inquire and, for good measure, mentioned that our daughter happened to be named Olive.  The interviewing process could not have been more casual.  I was asked to show up at the Pittsburgh Public Market during its second weekend and come to what was then the Cosimano e Ferrari Olive Oil Company stall.  The couple running the booth, Larry and Kim Pitoni, conversed with me briefly.  Kim asked if I was the one whose daughter's name was Olive, then gave me the go ahead to come in the following weekend to start work.  No formal application, no resume, no funny business.  I worked the stand every weekend, most of the time by myself, as the Pitoni's live several hours away.  Mixing concoctions of oils and balsamics became a sort of art to me, choosing unlikely flavor combinations (garlic olive oil with pineapple balsamic, for instance) that, despite being nontraditional, somehow work and send the folks who are gutsy enough to try it into a state of culinary ecstasy (this happens more often than I would have thought, and boy, is it delightful - and oftentimes hilarious - to behold!).   It certainly has made me more adventurous with my cooking, that's for sure.  Before Thanksgiving of 2011, Larry told me he'd decided to sell the business and offered it to me. Initially I balked; the idea of owning a business intimidated me and I doubted my ability to make it work.  Rob, however, was supportive and encouraging. I was being given other options of jobs which seemed more certain than taking over a small business in a market that was just getting off the ground in an already unstable economy, but my instinct told me to move forward with the business.  We purchased it just after Christmas and have been so thrilled to call it my own.  I promote and sell the product (which, if you've tried it, requires very little selling), and Rob, bless his heart, manages the books.  Without him I'd be sunk.  I love what I do and am so thankful that this is where my path had led me.  Enjoy, everyone!